Pope Francis received in audience the members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission at the Apostolic Palace early this afternoon. The members were accompanied by its President, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller.
Established in 1902, the Pontifical Biblical Commission was created to ensure the proper defense and interpretation of the Sacred Scripture. The commission recently concluded their Plenary Assembly on the theme: “Inspiration and Truth of the Bible”.
Commenting on the theme of their assembly, Pope Francis said that it was an important matter that affected not only individual believers, but the whole Church.
“As we know, the Holy Scriptures are the testimony in written form of God’s Word, the canonical memorial that attests to the event of Revelation. The Word of God, therefore, precedes and exceeds the Bible,” the Pope said.
“It is for this reason that the center of our faith is not only a book, but a history of salvation and especially a Person, Jesus Christ, the Word of God made flesh. Precisely because the Word of God embraces and extends beyond Scripture to understand it properly we need the constant presence of the Holy Spirit who ‘guide us to all truth’.”
Reiterating the Vatican II Constitution, Dei Verbum, Pope Francis stressed the “unbreakable” bond between Scripture and Tradition, “as both come from the same source.”
The Holy Father stated that the exegete, or one who interprets the Scripture, “must be careful to perceive the Word of God present in the biblical texts by placing them within the faith of the Church.”
“The interpretation of the Holy Scriptures cannot be only an individual scientific effort, but must always confront itself with, be inserted within and authenticated by the living tradition of the Church.,” the Pope said. The Holy Father called on the members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission to respect the profound nature of the Scriptures, which is to nourish and guide the faith.
Concluding his address, the Holy Father expressed his thanks and encouraged the commission on their “important work.”
“May the Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God, the Divine Teacher who opened the minds and hearts of his disciples to understand the Scriptures, guide and support you always in your endeavors,” Pope Francis said.